How to Be Human

Paula Cocozza

'An intriguing and subversive debut, charged with the power of the ignored and the suppressed.' Hilary Mantel

'Enchanting . . . restrained . . . startling.' TLS

'A thrilling psychodrama . . . She brilliantly captures a sense of Hitchcockian, curtain-twitching intensity.' Economist

‘Sharp, thoughtful . . . exhilarating . . . the plot slips from urban pastoral to tense thriller.’ Newsweek

'Cocozza has a wonderful eye for detail, and her descriptions of the natural world are uncanny.' Guardian

'The tricky, shifting substance of relationships is so insightfully drawn and constantly surprises.' Laura Barnett, author of The Versions of Us

'Taut, shimmering.' Richard Beard, author of The Acts of the Assassins

You’ve seen a fox.

Come face to face in an unexpected place, or at an unexpected moment.

And he has looked at you, as you have looked at him. As if he has something to tell you, or you have something to tell him.

But what if it didn’t stop there?

When Mary arrives home from work one day to find a magnificent fox on her lawn - his ears spiked in attention and every hair bristling with his power to surprise - it is only the beginning. He brings gifts (at least, Mary imagines they are gifts), and gradually makes himself at home.

And as he listens to Mary, Mary listens back.

She begins to hear herself for the first time in years. Her bullish ex-boyfriend, still lurking on the fringes of her life, would be appalled. So would the neighbours with a new baby. They only like wildlife that fits with the decor. But inside Mary a wildness is growing that will not be tamed.

In this extraordinary debut, the lines between sanity and safety, obsession and delusion blur, in a thrilling exploration of what makes us human.

  • Hutchinson
  • Published 6th April 2017
  • 320 Pages
  • 144mm x 222mm x 30mm
  • 461g
  • £12.99